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Côte d’Ivoire: Money men, politicos and those who keep an eye on them

By Olivier Monnier in Abidjan
Posted on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 13:52

General manager of the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (BRVM) Edoh Kossi Amenounve (1) wants to give the Abidjan-based stock exchange a new push thanks to a direct approach with issuers.

“We go see them, we explain to them the advantages of being listed and the benefits they can get from it,” he says.

The 46-year-old Togolese national, who became the manager of the BRVM in October 2012, hopes the bourse will soon record its first listings in more than two years.

The stock exchange has recorded a five-year high on the back of Côte d’Ivoire’s economic recovery.

The BRVM plans to open a market dedicated to smaller companies later this year.

The first sub-Saharan African at the head of a unit of Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank, Daouda Coulibaly (2) became general director of the Société Ivoirienne de Banque (SIB) last year.

He aims to boost the bank’s strategy of proximity to its customers. SIB already counts 42 branches throughout the country, including 30 in Abidjan.

The bank, 51 percent owned by Attijariwafa and 49 percent by the Ivorian state, is the seventh-largest financial institution in the country and is ranked second in terms of granting loans to individuals.

Ouattara suggests he will run again but behind the scenes a succession war continues

In just a few years, Vassiriki Konaté has become one of the country’s main promoters of local processing of agricultural products.

In 2007, he opened his first plant to treat citrus fruits and essential oils.

He is now operating half a dozen agro-industrial units, including those for cocoa, cashews and cotton.

Konaté employs about 10,000 people and plans to organise all his activities under one holding company later this year.

Despite the government’s pressure, processing cocoa beans is not so profitable for the country as it does not create many jobs, says the outspoken Konaté.

He has called on the authorities to focus on commodities like cashews.

Better governance is key to attracting investors, and the task of cleaning up Côte d’Ivoire falls to theAutorité Nationale de Régulation des Marchés Publics.

Businesspeople rate authority president Non Karna Coulibaly positively. With the attribution of public contracts attracting heavy criticism, Coulibaly will have plenty of work ahead of him to demonstrate the government’s willingness to tackle corruption and racketeering.

With former President Laurent Gbagbo’sFront Populaire Ivoirien refusing to take part in elections since the end of the 2010-2011 post-election standoff, Mamadou Koulibaly (3) appears as the only serious opposition to Alassane Ouattara’s regime.

A former FPI member, Koulibaly quit the party in 2011, blaming its members’ inability to move on.

He created his own party,Liberté et Démocratie pour la République.

Koulibaly’s analysis of the country’s situation is often incisive, but he is still struggling to make his voice heard.

President Ouattara says he will “probably” run for a second term in the 2015 elections, but behind the scenes the war for succession continues to occupy interior minister Hamed Bakayoko and president of the National Assembly Guillaume Soro.

On the record, squabbles belong to the past.

“If misunderstandings there were, they are now fixed,” Ouattara told our sister magazine Jeune Afrique. That is a conclusion that most political observers do not share.

Côte d’Ivoire’s media are not known for their quality or their independence, with many politicians owning newspapers.

The investigative and satirical paper l’Eléphant Déchaîné has bucked the trend, however. Journalist Antoine Assalé Tiémoko created the newspaper in 2011.

Since then, the twice-weekly publication has become a must-read and has proved its independence from political parties. It appears to be a sign of hope for the fourth estate. ●

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